From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The House of Representatives, yesterday, mandated its Committee on Aids, Loans and Debt Management, to probe alleged exclusion of Rivers State from states that are to benefit from projects to be executed with fresh external loans the Federal Government is seeking from various sources.
The House resolved that if at the end of its investigation, Rivers is found to be the only state that is excluded from the projects, it should also be included as a beneficiary.
This followed the adoption of motion by Bob Solomon, member from Rivers State, who protested the exclusion of the state from those to benefit from projects to be executed with the fresh loans.
Solomon, in the motion, moved under matters of urgent public importance, contended that section 15(4) & (5) of the 1999 Constitution ( as amended), imposes a duty on the Federal Government to ensure equitable distribution of resources and projects across the country.
He stated that media reports on September 21, indicated that Rivers was the only state excluded from the list of beneficiaries of projects to be executed with the loans.
“It is incomprehensible that Rivers State, which contributes enormously to the country’s foreign exchange earnings and through whose huge oil and gas resources a large part of the loan repayment depends, could be inexplicably excluded from benefitting from projects for which the loans are being sought.”
Solomon expressed worry “that the alleged exclusion is capable of being interpreted as a partisan vindictiveness against the people of the state because of differences of opinion on national issues.”
Chief Whip of the House, Tahir Monguno, in his contribution, described the motion as an ambush by the sponsor, as other lawmakers do not have all the facts of the matter.
Monguno suggested that the issue should be brought under motion on notice, and not under matters of urgent public importance.
Similarly, the Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase, in his contribution, urged the sponsor to step it down, so that it can be taken as a motion on notice on a latter day.
Regardless, Solomon insisted that he would not step down the motion, noting that members can propose amendments to it.